Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

The same day that Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives to start her new life in London, a woman is brutally murdered mere blocks from Rory's new boarding school - and in the copycat style of Jack the Ripper's first murder. Rory tries not to pay too much attention to the murders, disturbing as they are. She is excited about living in London, meeting new people, and trying to figure out exactly why she agreed to play on the field hockey team.

But the murders continue to happen, and the media frenzy surrounding them soon has everyone in London caught up in the horrible events. When Rory believes she has seen the man responsible, she gets caught up in them too - and in a terrifying, unexpected way.

Part murder mystery, part ghost story, this creepy, gripping tale gets under the reader's skin and won't let go until the very end. The setting is an evocative backdrop, and Rory is a likable teen whose strong narrative voice carries the reader through the events of the story. While the book ends in a satisfying conclusion, there are enough unexplored areas that readers will be pleased to learn that a sequel, The Madness Underneath, has already been published. My fourteen-year-old daughter read and enjoyed this one, and I expect I won't get to the second book until she finishes it first.

Books in the Shades of London series:
1. The Name of the Star
2. The Madness Underneath

The Name of the Star (#1 in the Shades of London series) by Maureen Johnson (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2011)

Also by Maureen Johnson:
Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes


  1. Sounds intriguing and a great cover as well.

  2. I really liked this one!! I really need to read the second…I keep forgetting it's out already!

  3. Heather - It's a good one! I think you'd enjoy it.

    Chris - Glad you liked it, too! I have the sequel sitting here, but I suspect my daughter's going to snag it before I get to it. Depends who finishes their current read first! I'll let you know how it goes.

  4. Rory is great, isn't she? I loved her voice. I loved how she wasn't totally okay with everything that happened, either, but not in a "this isn't happening, it's not possible" kind of denial way so much as a "OMG this is happening and I DO NOT WANT" kind of way. Discovering you have special powers (and I kind of love that she got them via a piece of sausage) and that they are creepy like seeing dead people? That would be traumatizing. I'm glad that Rory actually exhibits some symptoms of that. Made her a stronger character in the end, I thought.

    1. Kiirstin - I completely agree! The typical denial quickly becomes tedious, but her reaction felt very real to me. Have you read the second one yet?


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